Thailand: Travelers Advised to Avoid Bangkok Following Military Coup

Travel Advisory

Travelers are advised to avoid non-essential travel to the Thai capital following a military coup, which was declared on 22 May 2014. A nationwide curfew will be imposed from 10 pm until 5 am.

Travelers traveling to or from the airport will be exempt from the curfew, but they should be prepared to show their passports and tickets to security officers along the way.

At least 2 airlines – Thai Airways International and Cathay Pacific – have announced fee wavers for passengers canceling flight because of the Military Coup.

According to Cathay Pacific Airways, flight operations remain normal, but there might be flight cancellations or consolidations if the situation worsens.

The airline advises travelers heading from downtown Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi International Airport to allow 3 to 4 hours travel time because of  “checkpoints, traffic diversions and road closures in some areas and potential traffic congestion”, the airline’s website says.

Thai Airways International says that despite the curfew, all flights will operate as usual during the crisis. It recommends that passengers arrive at the airport 3 hours before departure.

Bangkok Safety Tips

  • Travelers already in Bangkok are advised to keep movement to a minimum as there is still a chance of violence – especially at protest sites.
  • Travelers that must travel within Bangkok should allow extra travel time to reach their destination. They should also double check routes before they set out on their journey because of potential road closures.
  • Travelers should expect an increased presence of security forces in the streets and such additional security measures as road closures and check points.
  • Travelers should observe curfew hours, which can change with little or no notice.
  • Travelers should register with their embassies to receive security updates.

International SOS

Some advice from the pros …

“Organizations with local offices in Bangkok should review their business continuity plans and ensure they are able to locate and communicate with all of their staff in the country, says Eliza Murray, Regional Security Manager – Asia Pacific, International SOS.

“The situation remains unpredictable and requires close monitoring. Keep across developments closely via the international news media and local contacts prior to and during your stay.”

Government Travel Advisories 

The Hong Kong Government issued a Red Outbound Travel Alert earlier today, urging travelers to ‘adjust travel plans’ and ‘avoid non-essential travel’ to Thailand because of a ‘signifcant threat’ to their safety.

“There is a risk of a violent reaction to the Army’s announcement,” the British Government warns.

“We recommend that you exercise extreme caution and remain alert to the situation. If you’re in any doubt about your safety, stay in your accommodation.”

Australia, China, France, Japan, the United States, and at least 29 other countries have issued travel warnings, the Xinhua News Agency reports.

According to a friend that lives in Bangkok, regular television programming has been stopped and martial music is being broadcast instead. You might want to stock up on some good videos.

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